Saturday, 4 October 2008

Meeting distant cousins: the delight of genealogy and family history research

Who gives a toss about some old fossil who lived 150 years ago? I do. Especially if that old fossil was a grandparent, or uncle, or cousin, of mine.

I am passionately interested in family history, and have every free hour I have over the last ten years or so tracking down my ancestors. I won't bore you with who they are, or were, or - oh joy - the disgrace and infamy associated with their lives, suffice to say that I am very satisfied that I do not come from a boring family.

Thanks to the incredible power of the Internet, I have discovered, in my family tree, a possible Jack-the-Ripper suspect, several bigamists, a wife-beater, a servant-rogerer, a novelist, a surgeon, several needlewomen, a milliner or two, a straw-plaiter, dressmakers, candlemakers, tailors, dairywomen, stationers, acturies, and plenty of servants, serfs and forelock-tuggers.

Most gratifying of all, I've discovered distant living cousins, who have sent me pictures of my long-dead kin. See this post about 'reading' old family portraits.

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1 comment:

meggie said...

I love the old stories of our family heritage. We have all the usual suspects. Pork butchers, farmers, the pregnant servant girl, the disinhertance because he married said pregnant girl. The list goes on. I love the old photos, & the wonderful sensitive eyes that were captured. Somehow the solemn photos seem to capture the essence of the person?